Rishi Sunak will pledge an extra £1.6billion of UK taxpayer’s money for environmental projects at the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai as Downing Street said it was time that China did more to tackle climate change.
On the first day of the World Leaders Summit at Cop on Friday, the Prime Minister will announce major funding for projects aimed at stopping and reversing deforestation, protecting the natural environment, and accelerating the global transition to clean energy.
The projects will support efforts to get the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees on track.
Sunak will commit £1.6billion for international climate finance projects as part of a five year commitment by the Government to spend £11.6billion on such schemes.
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The spending includes up to £500million to tackle deforestation and increase investment in sustainable forest and land management and £316million for energy innovation projects to speed up the global transition to renewables. A further £185million will be spent on encouraging innovation in developing countries and to advance rapidly new green technology.
Sunak said: “The world made ambitious pledges at previous Cop summits to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But the time for pledges is now over – this is the era for action.
“We know that the technologies and innovations we need to protect the planet are at our fingertips, from the mighty offshore wind farms powering the UK to the solar energy transforming electricity in Africa.
“The transition to net zero should make us all safer and better off. It must benefit, not burden ordinary families.
“The UK has led the way in taking pragmatic, long-term decisions at home – and at Cop28 we will lead international efforts to protect the world’s forests, turbocharge renewable energy and leverage the full weight of private finance.”
The Prime Minister will also use his one day trip to the Middle East to push for progress on alleviating the humanitarian crisis on Gaza and finding a long-term solution to the crisis in talks with key regional and international leaders.
Sunak will raise the plight of the remaining British hostages in Gaza and concrete proposals to step up the delivery of aid and secure a lasting peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.
That came as Number 10 expressed frustration about China’s record on cutting emissions, stressing that it wants Beijing to demonstrate to show “real world action” in tackling global warming.
Chinese president Xi Jinping is not attending the summit.
A Downing Street spokesman said China was a “crucial” part of the commitments given its size and economy.
He said: “There is some significant action that must take place to keep ‘1.5 alive’. He understands the challenges all countries and that includes China which is obviously vitally important have to take action.
“We need to see not just commitments but real world demonstration of action as we have done to make sure that this progress continues.”
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